WHITE COLLAR 4.08 ‘Ancient History’

When Alex comes to town looking to make off with Greek antiquities, Neal becomes an unwitting player in a museum heist.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Episode Title: "Ancient History"

Writer: Daniel Shattuck

Director: Russell Lee Fine

Previously on "White Collar":

Episode 4.07 "Compromising Positions"


When a group of thieves are apprehended outside a museum, Neal (Matt Bomer) is among them. He tells the arresting officer that he's the FBI's inside man but the cop won't release him. Peter (Tim DeKay) shows up and gets into a heated argument with the high-ranking officer who eventually lets Neal go. However, he insists Peter let him in all future undercover operations in his jurisdiction.

At the office, Peter and the team go over the bust. Jones (Sharif Atkins) believes the operation may be linked to Neal's ex-girlfriend and notorious art thief, Alex Hunter. Just released from a Greek prison, Alex is in town and may be looking to score again. Peter tasks Neal with getting in touch Alex to find out what she's up to.

After the meeting, Diana (Marsha Thomason) tells Peter that Sam Phelps is the man Neal met with outside the hotel. Peter explains about Neal's father and tells Diana he is indeed investigating Sam but off the record.

At home, Neal gets a package from Ellen containing an old Betamax tape. Mozzie (Willie Garson) suggests they watch it together, but Neal sternly tells him he plans to watch it with Sam. He then has Mozzie leave, as Alex could show at any minute.

After meeting at his apartment, Neal invites Alex (Gloria Votsis) to lunch the next day. Peter shows Neal surveillance photos of a man handing Alex an envelope. He suspects Alex may be working for him and Neal agrees to find out what's in the envelope.

Mozzie stops by Peter's place and tells him about the video tape Neal received and that he thinks Sam could be dangerous. When Peter steps away, Mozzie peaks at a file on the table which he assumes is Sam's. Afterwards, he heads to the address in the file and breaks into a hotel room. Peter gets word of this from Jones and he rushes in after Mozzie. He tells Mozzie that the room is Alex's, not Sams. Mozzie suggests he search the room for the envelope and Peter reluctantly lets him. Mozzie finds it and the two hide in the bathroom as Neal and Alex make their way inside.

Peter texts Neal to come to the bathroom. Neal excuses himself and meets the two in the bathroom where they open the envelope and look over photos of Greek antiquities. Neal suspects Alex is planning on breaking into another exhibit. He heads back out to the balcony where she's waiting for him. Alex then realizes Neal was actually searching her apartment and asks him to leave.

Outside the building, Peter and Mozzie explain the misunderstanding to Neal and let him know that they think Sam is dangerous. However, Neal is determined to get answers and tells the two of them to stay out of it.

Back at the office, the team learns that Alex is working for the Greek General Secretary of Culture and Tourism. He has assigned Alex to recover the items which he feels were plundered from his country. Peter asks Neal if he thinks Alex will still go through with the job. Neal is disgruntled over Peter's handling of the situation, but agrees to talk to her.

At his apartment, Neal tells Alex he wants to keep her from going to jail. When she explains that she was strong armed into the heist, Neal suggests they go through with it in order to deliver the Greek Secretary to the FBI and get Alex off the hook.

Posing as an artist, Neal and Alex arrive at the museum and manage to get the curator to agree to let them have access to gallery. Alex disables the alarm system and the two load a truck up with the art. However, the operation goes bust when the police arrive and arrest Neal. However, Alex is nowhere to be found. Peter arrives and gets into it again with the same officer who insisted he be informed of any federal operations.

Peter bails Neal out, but Alex is already gone, having stole the truck with the art inside. They soon realize that Alex planned for the police to show up, so that they she could make off with the art from both heists now in police evidence. When the truck is found the Greek Secretary is inside and Alex is gone, along with the art.

That night, Neal comes home to find Alex in his apartment. She admits to playing him as well as the Secretary, but says they are now even, after Neal cut her out of the submarine job. Neal threatens to call Peter, but Alex says he won't since he owed her one.

Later, Neal drops by Peter's home and he, Peter and Mozzie begin to watch the video.


When Neal Caffrey's ex-girlfriends come to town, it's not just a little wining and dining they're looking for. In the case of cat burglar, Alex Hunter walking off with Greek antiquities was the order of the day. And unfortunately for Neal, his relationship with Alex was just a means to that end.

"Ancient History" provided a little bit of closure to Alex's end of the submarine heist. And the Sam situation got even more intriguing when a mysterious Betamax arrived at Neal's. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until next week's episode of "White Collar" to find out exactly what Ellen waited thirty years to show Neal.

What's interesting about his quest to learn the truth about his father is the divide it creates between Neal and his two closest friends. Mozzie and Peter presented a surprisingly united front, urging Neal to think twice about putting all his trust in Sam. Considering their respective backgrounds, Neal and Peter have developed an uncommon bond. But this time, Neal's got too much at stake to play by Peter's rules. Yes, that's right, this time it's personal!

A few additional observational observations about 'Ancient History:'

Mozzie owns a Betamax player. And not just one…

We're so used to Neal seeing play the polished gentleman, it was kinda fun to watch him step into role of pretentious prima-donna artist

It's not often we see Neal mouth off to Peter in front the rest of the team. The tension's been building for weeks and it looks like Operation Who's My Daddy will push things over the edge.

Sam doesn't want the feds involved and yet Peter's now in the fold. Will his allegiance to the "suit" cost Neal in the end?

Though the return of Alex Hunter wasn't nearly as exciting as their last encounter, it's always great when Neal's thieving former girlfriends drop in for a visit. And though we didn't get to see what was on that video (just yet) this episode set up some interesting allegiances (Mozzie and Peter?!) heading into the last two hours of the summer season. It looks like Neal will get the answers he's been looking for, but not without alienating one or even both of his closest confidants.